News story

Evaluation of the bowel cancer awareness pilot

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

The first regional bowel cancer awareness campaign ran in the East of England and South West in January 2011.

The campaign was intended to raise awareness of the symptoms of bowel cancer - loose poo and blood in poo for more than three weeks, and encourage people with these symptoms to see their GP early.

The positive pilot results were used to design the Government’s first ever national cancer campaign to raise awareness of the signs and symptoms of bowel cancer. The evaluation report presents the results of the pilot campaign.

Public awareness of the symptoms of bowel cancer is low. Spotting the signs early and getting medical advice could save people’s lives. The adverts feature real GPs in the ‘Be Clear on Cancer’ bowel cancer campaign. It encourages people who have had symptoms for more than three weeks to see their doctor. The aim is to make people aware of the symptoms of bowel cancer and make it easier for them to discuss this with their GP.

Improving Outcomes: A Strategy for Cancer (January 2011), outlined the direction for improved cancer care and the aim to save an additional 5,000 lives a year by 2014/15 through improving survival rates for cancer in England and to match the European average.

Late diagnosis is considered to be a major reason for England’s poorer survival rates. To tackle this, the Department of Health, working with key stakeholders, established the National Awareness and Early Diagnosis Initiative (NAEDI).

The aim of NAEDI is to achieve earlier diagnosis through a range of actions including raising public awareness of the signs and symptoms of cancer, support GPs to assess patients more effectively and improve GP access to diagnostic tests.